A Simple Parable of Greed.

It started with Bernard Madoff (it’s his anniversary!) and Ezra Merkin, and the world of vicious greed they brought to Yeshiva University. By the time these two venerated trustees of the school were brought down, Yeshiva had not only lost over a hundred million dollars to them; it had lost its reputation. Yeshiva is after all a religious school, and is held to high moral standards. Now it was in the gutter.

Yeshiva tumbled yet further with revelations that sexual abuse of students at a Yeshiva school had taken place for decades and been ignored, denied. A class action against the university will cost it hundreds of millions of dollars by the time Yeshiva decides to settle.

Throughout these and other scandalous instances of mismanagement and moral turpitude, the school has been led by a man who is one of the highest compensated university presidents in America. So there you have greed again — a greed shared with other top administrators at a school that presents itself as an institutional embodiment of spiritual piety. Even as Moody’s has downgraded this shabbier and shabbier operation, to the point where Yeshiva’s credit rating is now in the same gutter as its reputation, this president and his top managers continued to reward themselves.

Professors? Those who are due to retire cannot retire; their retirement funds are suddenly nowhere to be found, and they will have to keep working for a long, long time.

It’s within the realm of possibility that even here they will run into difficulty. (Repulsive details of the human cost of robbing your school blind here.) Yeshiva may have to close its doors.

In her mail this morning, UD got the Knight Commission’s Database on …

academic vs. athletics spending at American universities.

A newspaper in Alabama has wasted no time in noting that, for instance, “[University of Alabama Birmingham] spent less per student on academics in 2011 than four years earlier, [while its] athletic spending rate per athlete increased 30 percent.”

Hyuk. That’s how y’all stay Alabam’.

And, uh, at least it’s money well spent!

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Even when not factoring in athletic scholarship costs, a pricey category for schools that can rapidly increase, the athletic spending rate was still higher than academic spending. A big factor was the growth in coaching salaries, which increased on average by 54 percent among the five major conferences, compared to 24 percent for all FBS schools.

The database defines academic spending per student as direct and indirect costs associated to educating students. Examples include expenses for instruction, department research, student services, and a portion of academic, institutional and operations support. It does not include spending related to other university activities.

“On the UVa McIntire School website, Morris is listed as an expert in information technology, human-computer interactions and decision-making using information technology.”

An associate dean at the University of Virginia – apparently a computer expert – “used his UVa email address in making a 2010 online payment to the peer-to-peer [child pornography] network and last year logged into his account from a school IP address, according to the affidavit.”

No bail was granted. He’ll go on trial soon.

The Evan Dobelle Story Enters Franco Death Watch…

territory.

Yeshiva University’s Credit Rating is…

…in free fall.

Westfield becomes …

Cloverfield.

Under the leadership of free spending Evan Dobelle, Westfield State University has taken on the feel of a horror film. Every day brings new financial and legal disaster. Most recently, the state of Massachusetts, displeased with Dobelle’s apparent misuse of public money, has frozen much of the school’s funding.

All of this because – with full knowledge of his scandalous behavior at his previous employer, the University of Hawaii – Westfield went ahead and hired this man.

The Canadians…

among us.

Uh –

oh.

“USC spokesman Wes Hickman said the university couldn’t comment on the specific allegations against Bennett since they don’t involve USC.”

Well, the local media’s got hold of the Charles Bennett story, and people in South Carolina think it’s a bit odd that after Bennett was booted out of Northwestern University for stealing grant funds (background here), the University of South Carolina turned around and picked him right up, giving him an endowed chair and a salary of close to $300,000. Crime pays.

USC’s spokesman came out with the brilliant response I quote in my title. The school can’t comment on any phenomenon that doesn’t involve USC. The allegations are a matter of public record, everyone’s commenting on them, but USC has a policy of not commenting on anything in the world that happens that doesn’t involve USC.

I guess the principle extends to hiring at USC too — since whatever Bennett did in Chicago doesn’t involve USC, he’s in. When Bennett steals USC grant money, then USC will review his position… Because then it will involve USC…

Gordon Gee …

… talks himself out of a job.

“The university had given Brixey an Aug. 17 deadline to explain not only the missing money but why $81,000 in loose cash was in his locked desk at the bookstore.”

I guess all universities need to be known for something; and at Missouri State University it’s hilarious, high-level mismanagement of money.

Naturally, the big money loss is about sports. There’s a new stadium about whose profitability the university lied (details here and here and here and here and here and here).

But there’s also the manager of the bookstore, whose decade-long theft of millions of dollars went unnoticed.

The US Attorney thanks MSU for its “quick actions.” Guess they do things more slowly in the heartland.

(And let UD simply state for the record, that if you think no one else at MSU knew what Mark Brixey was up to…)

‘“Boys are going to be boys,” he said.’

Board members of a fraternity with a chapter at the University of Florida don’t understand why that university made life so difficult for the boys that the frat’s national reps had to shut the chapter down. I mean, yes, theft; yes, hazing; yes, underage drinking…

But when you understand, for instance, the reason for the theft, it doesn’t look so bad.

[T]wo of its members were arrested and charged with theft in March after getting caught walking out of a local home improvement store with nearly $600 worth of plastic sheeting to be used for a pool party at the chapter’s house.

Boys are going to need plastic sheeting for pool parties, and it’s just sitting right there in the store.

Holy Double-Dipping Duo, Batman!

It took over five years, but after tons of investigations and charges and repayments, the husband/wife team of Jacko and Sainfort at the University of Minnesota (also, at the same time, drawing money from, Georgia Tech) is taking its leave of that school.

To this day, UD has no idea why Minnesota held onto these extremely highly compensated people for so long. UM knew within minutes of recruiting them that they were naughty.

****************

UD thanks Bill.

An awful lot of ugly…

… has been sticking to Yeshiva University in the last few years. Ugly plus hypocrisy.

Last year, in the school newspaper, a Yeshiva student published a short story with mild sexual content. The school became hysterical, clapping filters on male students’ computer accounts (no need to do women; they don’t read about sex).

But sex and money issues involving older adults on campus don’t seem to get much of a rise out of Yeshiva’s president and board of trustees.

Of course, when those trustees have until recently included Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin, and when your “Entrepreneurial Institute” bears the name of Ira Rennert, you can expect a forgiving attitude toward ways and means of acquiring large sums.

Yeshiva said nothing when the Madoff/Merkin story broke; it simply got its technicians to remove, on the day the story broke, all references to the two of them from its website.

Eventually it had to talk, of course, about its victimization by those bad boys. (The victimization thing isn’t flying too well; Yeshiva “may be at risk for clawbacks.”) But it said as little as possible.

Now yet another scandal has roiled Yeshiva – another sex scandal. It hasn’t responded as aggressively as it did to that evil woman who wrote the short story. In fact, it has said and done nothing for decades about multiple complaints that rabbis at its high school sexually abused boys who were enrolled there.

From the mid 1980s until today … Y.U. officials … have dismissed claims or kept them quiet. Some of these officials allowed [one of the alleged abusers] to leave the Y.U. system and find a new position as dean of a Florida day school without disclosing the abuse allegations. Later, … a Y.U. rabbi warned the Florida school that Finkelstein could be a threat. And when Finkelstein’s next employer, the Jerusalem Great Synagogue, asked whether the allegations that dogged him were true, Y.U. assured the synagogue that there was nothing to worry about.

At this point, there’s a critical mass of ugly coming out of Yeshiva University. No doubt they’ve hired some incredibly expensive public relations firm in the belief that if you throw enough of your students’ tuition money around it will solve problems you created through your own negligence or ineptitude. One more insult piled onto many insults.

At most universities, the president of the school would have resigned by now.

“The group of protesters was greeted by Lawrence Biondi, S.J., president of SLU, who offered to take their drink orders.”

The clueless president and board of trustees at Saint Louis University, a Jesuit institution whose chief trustee embodies the Jesuit principle of humility at its finest, have hired an expensive public relations firm to handle the rage from faculty and students that their own regal indifference to both groups has generated.

UD does not think this approach will work very well. Remember the University of Virginia.

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